Early results from Mexico’s congressional elections show that President Enrique Pena Nieto’s party has won the vote, despite his falling approval ratings and election violence in several states.
According to estimates by the National Electoral Institute, combined with its allies, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is set to gain between 246 and 263 seats in the 500-member lower chamber of the Mexican Congress.
Estimates based on the early results show that the PRI could win between 196 and 203 seats, which is equivalent to between 29.87 and 30.85 percent of the congressional ballots, retaining its simple majority in the congress.
The conservative National Action Party (PAN) is expected to get 105-116 seats, followed by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), which is expected to garner 51-60 seats.
“The message at the ballot box is that this government hasn’t been bad in the past three years,” said Jose Antonio Crespo, a political expert at the Economic Research and Teaching Center.
The National Electoral Institute’s president, Lorenzo Cordova, also described the overall election process as “positive” despite “incidents in certain areas.”
Violent election day protests
The Sunday elections, which also included races for hundreds of mayors and nine governors, saw violent protests in the impoverished southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, where angry teachers slamming the president’s education reforms burned ballot boxes in an attempt to disrupt the midterm vote.
Authorities arrested nearly 90 people for destroying election material in several towns in Oaxaca. The state’s capital was the scene of a massive protest rally.
In the Guerrero town of Tlapa, a man succumbed to his injuries from an unknown projectile when federal forces stormed into a church to release police officers held by election opponents.
In the neighboring town of Tixtla, demonstrators furious at last year’s alleged massacre of 43 students, also set ballot boxes on fire.
In September 2014, the 43 students went missing after gang-linked police attacked their buses in the city of Iguala in Guerrero and handed them over to members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang. The gang members told investigators that the students had been taken to a landfill, where they were killed and burned